Introduction to Molecular Methods for Algae Research

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General information

This course introduces you to a variety of molecular methods including DNA extraction, clean-up, DNA sequencing, gene expression and bioinformatic analysis. Focusing on laboratory and bioinformatics skills relevant to algal research, this two-day course introduces up-to-date molecular approaches to investigate the biology and ecology of algae in coastal and ocean habitats from the tropics to the poles. The course addresses practical information and modifications to standard molecular protocols required to achieve success with algal material. An ideal follow-on to the Algaculture for Biotechnology course which directly precedes it. The molecular methods course comprises a mixture of lectures and hands-on sessions (lab and IT based).

Your tutors are all highly experienced scientists at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and/or CCAP (the NERC Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa; the most diverse collection of its kind in the world, with 3000 strains of marine and freshwater algae, protists and seaweeds). The course is led by Dr David Green who has extensive experience in molecular microbial ecology and bioinformatic analysis. 

Day 1 (29th October)

  • Algal DNA extraction
  • Lecture: Principals of nucleic acid extraction
  • Laboratory: DNA extraction
  • The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Lecture: Principals of the PCR
  • Lecture: Principals of PCR Amplicon cloning and DNA sequencing
  • Laboratory: PCR

Day 2 (30th October)

  • Lecture: Principals of quantitative PCR (qPCR) and gene expression
  • Laboratory: PCR
  • Bioinformatics
  • DNA sequence assembly and analysis
  • Introduction to phylogenetic analysis
Learning outcome:
  • Comprehensive introduction to theory “how, what and when” of DNA extraction with a specific focus on the unique challenges of working with algae, and consolidated with 4.5 hr hands-on laboratory practice.
  • Comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of the PCR and protocols for PCR cloning, and the power of quantitative PCR for relative and absolute quantitation of genes or gene expression.
  • Comprehensive introduction to bioinformatics emphasising available software and databases, coupled with a 3 hour hands-on exercise assembling and manipulating algal DNA sequence data and phylogenetic analysis.
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Venue: The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Oban, United Kingdom

Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK 



£540 (VAT exempt) including all course materials, laboratory equipment and lunch on both days.  You may want to arrange overnight accommodation in Oban if required. (This is not included in the course fee.) 

Special Offer: this course is preceded by an Algaculture for Biotechnology Course, which runs on the 27th and 28th of October. You may wish to attend both courses whilst you’re visiting SAMS, in which case, a discount of £70 is available. Please book online using this link to ensure you receive the discount or contact us for further details.


Places on this course are strictly limited to provide you with hands-on experience and plenty of time with the scientists. The course is ideally suited to laboratory workers and researchers wanting to start applying molecular methods in their algal research. 

Application Procedure:

Please apply for the Molecular Methods for Algae Research Course online, email or call 01631 559000.

Grant Opportunities:

Student members of the British Phycological Society (BPS) may be eligible for funding towards SAMS Algal short courses. Details of the BPS competitive funding scheme can be found here. There are 4 closing dates per year to apply (you must be a student); 1st March, 1st June, 1st Oct and 1st Dec and you must have been a BPS member for 3 months ahead of your application.



Academic level: Master, PhD, Lifelong Learning
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